Captain Huynh Nhu scored twice as the Vietnamese women beat Nepal 5-1 in their first qualifying match for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Vietnam are ranked 33rd in the world, 67 places above Nepal, and the gap showed in Dasharath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu on Wednesday as they dominated right from the get go.
In the 11th minute they scored the opening goal after Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung crossed from the left for Nguyen Thi Hai Yen to head in.
In the 36th minute Huynh Nhu’s shot hit Samiksha Ghimire’s hand in the penalty area, and the captain made no mistake from the spot.
Tuyet Dung started the game on the left flank but switched to the right at the end of the first half, and almost immediately contributed to the third goal.
She sprinted down the flank and passed it back to Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy, who was in a comfortable position. Thuy’s finish was not strong, but it deflected off a defender and went in to goalkeeper Anjila Tumbapo Subba’s surprise.
Three minutes into the second half Vietnam scored the fourth. From Hoang Thi Loan’s cross, Nhu sent a reverse header into the far corner for her second goal.
Vietnam slowed down after that.
Head coach Mai Duc Chung subbed out key players like Hai Yen and Bich Thuy to save them for the next game, and Nepal grabbed the opportunity to attack.
But though they did not create too much pressure, the Vietnamese defenders made mistakes.
In the 79th minute Loan lost the ball and Nepal attacked on the break. Defenders Diem My and Tran Thi Thu tried to stop Sabitra Bhandari, but she eluded them and defeated goalkeeper Khong Thi Hang with an accurate finish.
The goal sent the 1,200 Nepalese fans in the stadium into raptures despite the three-goal gap between the teams.
Vietnam did not give Nepal any more chances to come back into the match.
In the first minute of additional time substitute Nguyen Thi Thanh Nha took a shot from 25 m when she saw the goalkeeper at the top of the box to score the fifth goal.
The second leg will be played on Saturday. Group C originally had four teams, but after Palestine and Afghanistan withdrew, Vietnam and Nepal have to play each other twice to decide who will advance.
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